Broad Peak 2005: Italians + Denis Urubko for a new route!
Definitely, those who expected ‘just another’ Karakorum season are plain wrong. An all-star Italian-Kazakh combo is preparing an expedition to Broad Peak, where they will try to open a new route on the mountain's SE side.
Italian and Kazakhs
The group includes the recent Annapurna summiteer Mario Merelli, and the Kazakh stars Denis Urubko and Sergey Samoilov. The leader of the gang is Roberto 'Roby' Piantoni.
The Italian-side of the group will leave for Pakistan on June 21st; and meet the Kazakhs in Islamabad. Once together, they will head for Broad Peak, at the head of the Baltoro valley. There is no time to waste: The targeted route, on Broad's SE side, is a long, steep line on rock and ice.
Direct line to the main summit
The route begins through a crevassed glacier, which leads to the foot of a sheer wall, raising up to 7000m at an average 70º steep. From that point, the climbers will have to overcome difficult mixed sections, finding a straight way to Broad Peak´s main summit (8051m).
At least the guys won´t have any doubt of being on the right summit if they make it, avoiding Broad Peak's typical controverse: Many climbers claim the summit when they've just reached the fore-summit.
Team work or nothing
A new route on a 8000er is a major challenge, and requires a perfectly coordinated team. In that sense, both Italian Merelli and Kazakh Urubko have proven extremely valuable team members on many occasions.
Mario Merelli summited Annapurna last month, together with Italian Mario Panzeri and Damiele Bernasconi - plus American Ed Viesturs and Finn Veikka Gustafsson. The Italians were alone where they reached BC, and fixed all the route before Viesturs and Veikka arrived in their tent at high camp and joined them for the summit bid.
Denis, the guardian angel
Denis Urubko had no fixed plans for this year. As director of the National climbing team of Kazakhstan, he expected to spend this year teaching a group of young climbers.
Not only famous for being a hard working, amazingly strong climber, Denis is also known to go to the rescue of climbing-mates in trouble. The Kazakh is someone you would like to see around on the summit day on Broad Peak, or anywhere else.
Broad Peak, whose original local name is Phalchan Kangri, is located in Baltoro valley, Baltistan (Pakistan). It has three summits: North summit is 7490m, Central Summit (Zhongyang) is 8011m and Main (South) summit is 8051m - according to the most recent Chinese map.
The first ascent was accomplished by an Austrian team consisting of Hermann Buhl, Kurt Diemberger, Marcus Schmuck, and Fritz Wintersteller. All its member reached the summit on June 9th, 1957.
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